Monday, September 29, 2014

Get Your Money, This Week At REI

You provided a service. A safe clean environment to live in. A roof over their head. They bought that service from you and signed a contract between you and them that they would pay for that service for a given period of time.

When you met them they instantly seemed like great people to do business with. You did a background check on them and everything was A OK. They meet your criteria.

Then one day… months down the road, one of a few things happens.

A. They take the high road and they tell you that they lost their job and are going to either move right out and in with some friends or relatives before rent comes due so you aren’t having to pay the mortgage, insurance, taxes and everything else with no income coming in.

Most people don’t take this path even though it is the most respectable, moral and ethical path to take.

In this situation, in most cases, I wouldn’t even take the person to court. I have a heart and if someone is down and out and quickly steps up to the plate while thinking about my situation as well, I’ll let them slide on the contract.

B. Another possible avenue residents take is to lie to you and say their car broke down. Or the lights are getting cut off so they mistakenly choose the light bill before the shelter bill. Or they just lost their job, and maybe they did. But you already saw that brand new living room set in their house and you are the one that told Rent A Center that they pay their bills on time when they called for verification. Maybe that was a bad idea on your part. Or when they were telling you about the awesome time they just had in Myrtle Beach while letting you know that they are short on rent funds. Or maybe like we will be dealing with in a couple months. That they chose to spend rent on Christmas and they know that that isn’t a good excuse so they fabricate a story that may fly.

This angle gets my residents lined up with a court date. In this case I will fax in a letter to the court the day before to continue it if, and only if, the tenant is working hard to get back out of the hole they created. Weekly payments are required. Whether the story they told me is true or not. It doesn’t matter because I have a date that I am required to file papers on all delinquent accounts and I have no other option. However I am more than happy for them to stay if they hustle and get their account back in good standing quickly. And I will give them the time to do so through 2 week continuances. The minute they drop off the new agreed payment arrangement is the same minute I decide to follow through with the upcoming court date. I have found that this method that Dan Cullather showed me, works very well.

C. Now here is the 3rd possible angle that people take. You really seemed to hit it off with these people. Every time you see them you have a nice conversation and lots of smiles. They are just good all around people.

Then one day, months down the road. You haven’t received their rent and you called them and text them with no answer. You go by the house to see if they are Ok and they open the door with a nasty mean spirited look on their face and say “What Do You Want”. You ask them if everything is Ok and they tell you that you are a slumlord and they are sick of living in these conditions that you have put them in.

For these types of people, you’re a slumlord is keyword, I have no rent money for you and no intentions of paying you rent. It also spells out that they intend on holding up the fort and you can go ahead and evict them because they will lock it down right up to the day the sheriff comes to the door.

So you ask what is it that is wrong with the place. They scowl at you and tell you that there is black mold all over the place and their child is getting sick. And the sink is dripping water. And there are roaches in the house that they didn’t put there. The neighbor moved out and they all ran across the street and moved in. As if roaches are attracted to people that aren’t feeding them. They tell you that they are done arguing with you and slam the door.  And you’re standing there wondering how it was that you were arguing when you were simply asking what the problems were.

Man, those are the ones that really give tenants a bad name. I have allot of low income properties so I end up having some nasty ones like that every year.

After the sheriff gets there you find out that they were right. There are roaches everywhere. So many that it’s going to be very expensive to get rid of them. They have been feeding them for 6 months. The sink is dripping. Like one drip per minute. And there IS black mold. ONLY in the shower caulk. They were filthy pigs and clearly never heard of Tilex. Or any other bathroom cleaning chemical for that matter.

Your house is now trashed. They left garbage and junk furniture all over the place that you have to pay to get rid of. You have a couple holes in the wall that they punched on their way out to deal with as well. And can tell that there will be no touch up painting in that unit. The whole thing is going to need to be completely redone.

So now what do you do? Well… it’s payback time. You can get your judgement but just doing that and nothing else is useless. A judgement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you don’t attempt to force it to be paid. You better hope at this point that you were good with your records because if you were and kept information and always paid attention to where they were working you now have the option of jumping through the hoops of getting their wages, bank account or other personal items garnished.

But that’s allot of work and you are now tired from all the drama. You are ready for this to just be over. So you take the easy route and give all the information you have to our Tuesday night speaker, Alvin Franklin of TJR Asset Recovery. Alvin has been jumping these hoops for years and has recently opened his shop here in Roanoke Virginia. And he won’t charge you a dime of money before he collects. Obviously if he found them and needs to take them to court for you than there are court costs, but there will be nothing in his pocket until he starts putting money in your hand.

Cancel your plans. Come on out this week to get the details on this program he has set up for REI of Virginia. No need to chase after bad money yourself. Most of it won’t be collectable anyway. Let him do the legwork and find out what he can get for you.

We’ll see you there this Tuesday! Hopefully we have the big room because I suspect seating will be limited. Get there a little early. Don’t miss it…


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